My grandma’s voice became a low hush and her face grew stern. She spoke the next sentence in a deadly serious tone. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow. I often had a hard time following her unique mishmash of 3 dialects. Fortunately my father was there to help translate. He had been quiet during her storytelling, up to now. He said something and I almost missed it. 

 

“Wait…. Murdered??”

 

My eyes grew wide as I learned that my great grandfather was taken by the Chinese Communists when my grandmother was a teenager. My grandmother didn’t mince words. 

 

It was 2003 and I owned a recordable MD player to use during my Balinese gamelan rehearsals. I had recently decided to start making what I called “audio journals” by recording conversations with the people in my life. I made the one with my grandmother over a decade before she passed. It was before senile dementia had set in, when she was still her perky self. I’d almost forgotten about it until nearly three years after she passed. 

 

I took my first course in digital photography in 2005. Since then I got married, started a family, and left my “day job.” The focus of my photography grew and changed with me until, finally, it clicked. And I don’t mean the shutter. 

 

If you were hoping to learn a little bit more about my experience and approach to photography, watch the photofilm on the What's A Photofilm? page.

 

I’m still exploring my story and my family’s story and it’s a wonderful adventure. But I have the ability to help other families do the same. And the sooner we start, the better.